ANTIGONE by Skull of Yorick Productions at Island Hall, Godmanchester. Review by GRACE VANE PERCY.
FOR the first of what they hope will be an annual opera festival, Island Hall presented Antigone, based on Tommasso Traetta version of the Sophocles tragedy.
Jenny Drivala, who is undoubtedly the most famous soprano to ever headline an opera in Godmanchester, was majestic in her performance at this intimate gathering. The stage direction was based primarily on the artists themselves, using the lovingly restored interior of Island Hall itself as the stage set. The production set in the main hall, focused around the staircase, showcasing the performer’s exceptional voices, whilst playing with light and movement, the atmosphere was truly magical. ARTLUXE provided costumes which brought the story vividly to life and the audience watched spell bound as if seeing a painting having come to life.
The popular myth of Antigone has inspired many works of art, but as a production it is mostly seen in theatre (currently running at The National Theatre in London). Traetta’s operatic version however is not widely know. The production company - Skull Of Yorick have taken an exciting modern twist on this piece (written in 1772) using electric guitar and other synthesised music. The orchestration is highly innovative and yet still manages to maintain a strong Baroque flavour, the electric guitar sounding remarkably like a harpsichord.
The story is of course full of love, loss, passion and death, centred around Antigone our heroin. Creon (her uncle) king of Thebes, desperate keep control over the city ravaged by civil war, decides to make an example of his nephew Polynices (one of Antigone’s brothers) – both brother’s having recently killed each other in a power struggle for thrown of Thebes. He refuses to bury the body. Which, in ancient terms, means his soul can never be at peace. Outraged, she defies her uncle by burying her brother (sighting the laws of the God’s to be above that of man). Creon condemns the young woman, to be buried alive. Creon’s son who was engaged to Antigone then kills himself in protest of his father’s actions.
ANTIGONE is a very dark work, which speaks about the eternal conflicts between the ethical laws of humans and those that rule over them. The ancient drama of Sophocles and the baroque opera of Tommaso Traetta are united in harmony in this innovative and inspired performance. The power of these two all-time-classic works and the strength of the leading characters are fully expressed and explored in this performance that brings together the complexity of baroque music, the power of electric sound, amazing operatic voices and the genius script of an ancient drama.
The next stop for the production is Cyprus as part of the immensely popular 16th Annual International Festival of Ancient Drama. Where it will run for two sold out nights of playing to over 2,400.
Starred: Jenny Drivala as Antigone
Ismene: Kassandra Dimopoulou
Creon: Philip Modinos
Haemon: Louisa Petais
Voice of the priest of Thebes / Messenger: Pablo Strong Oedipus/ Electric Guitar: Sinnik Al
Chorus leader: Depi Mavropoulou (Energy Theatre)
Chorus: Stefania Di Gioia, Maria Karolidou, Can Orhan, Alan Williams.
Special appearances: Gabriella Modinos, as young Antigone & Chryssa Kouremeti as Eurydice
Stage direction: Kassandra Dimopoulou
Orchestration: Philip Modinos
Installation: Artluxe by Takis
INFORMATION: Production by Skull of Yorick, For information please go to www.facebook.com and search “skull of Yorick’ or
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Artluxe (design) by Takis. For details please go to www.artluxe.org or e-mail email@example.com